Night Moves: Film Review

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I wanted to see this because I had missed it at London Film Festival and it’s finally coming to U.K. cinemas next month. I am basically a big Jesse Eisenberg fan and will see anything he’s in and it was an independent film that piqued my interest.

Jesse plays Josh, who teams up with fellow radical environmentalists Dina (Dakota Fanning) and Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) to blow up a hydroelectric dam. However, things don’t quite go to plan and their trio becomes fractured.

This has an obvious indie film vibe in that the shots aren’t conventional, it takes it sweet time, the dialogue is minimal and it ends in the middle of nowhere. If you are only used to Hollywood studio-style fare, you are probably going to be disappointed because the tone feels weird. However, I was prepared, I knew what it would be like, and could appreciate it for what it is.

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Jesse is great. You don’t really notice his acting in the lead-up to the explosion but afterwards, when their worlds begin to crumble, he is so good. Sarsgaard doesn’t have a lot to do really but Fanning was great as someone tortured with what they did. What I like most about this was the tension. You KNEW something was going to go wrong but you didn’t know what. Then the tension rebuilds when Josh goes a bit nuts and Dina threatens to confess, yet you still have no idea what will happen.

This also poses a question: is their plan really the most effective way to protest the damages to fish because of the dam? Like someone later points out, there are more dams along the river, so what good does exploding one do? Were their efforts worth it?

However, it went on a bit too long after the explosion. It maintains a slow pace as we see Josh going back to his day-to-day life and you are like ‘it must be ending soon’ but it doesn’t. It goes on much longer than it should, but with several indies, they like to linger on scenes when it isn’t totally necessary.

I did like it. I’m going to say I loved it but the idea was interesting and makes you think and Eisenberg’s acting was impressive. But an overlong and odd ending puts a damper on the whole thing.

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